don’t be scared. -by maria t.

In the Arab World, “امسك الخشب” (imsek el-khashab) is said and has the same meaning.

Christian Arabs, use another expression “بإسم الصليب” (b-ism as-salib) which literally means “in the name of the cross.” It is an expression of gratitude to Christ for His blessings. Muslims, also, have a similar expression “ماشاء الله لا قوة إلا بالله” (b-ism allah, ma sha’ allah) which means “in the name of Allah, what Allah desires.” Both expressions are said when a person/people admire something and would not want this thing to be “harmed” by the “evil eye.”

In Bulgaria “чукам на дърво” (chukam na durvo) – the same meaning.

In Brazil this expression exists: “bater na madeira”. It has the exact same meaning.

In Czech this exists as well, being said “klepat na dřevo”. The meaning is the same.

In Denmark “bank under bordet” (knock under the table) is a commonly used phrase, which is often used as a part of the phrase “7-9-13, bank under bordet”, where “7-9-13” is just another way to say touch wood.

In Germany the version “auf Holz klopfen” (knock on wood) can be accompanied by the phrase “Toi, toi, toi” (probably derived from the Old German word for ‘Devil’) which is still used as a charm to ward off evil or as a good luck charm for thespians out of superstition that wishing an actor good luck brings the opposite.

In Finland “koputtaa puuta” is used for the same purpose. It also means exactly the same as the English equivalent.

In France “toucher du bois” is used with the same meaning.

In Greece “chtipa xilo” is used for the same purpose. It also means exactly the same as the English equivalent (“knock on wood”).

In Italy a similar superstition exists, it’s said “Toccare ferro” and the meaning is similar: one must touch metal, preferably iron.

In Iran it’s said “bezan be takhte (Persian: بزن به تخته)” and the meaning is similar; a wish that something will or will not occur. (Also to ward off the evil eye.)

In Malta the version “touch wood” is mostly used and one must touch wood when saying it.

In Netherlands, the term “afkloppen” (knock off), is used, sometimes accompanied by “op ongeverfd hout” (on unpainted wood).

In Norway, the term “bank i bordet” (knock the table), is used. In Norway, it is also sometimes used to stress that you’re telling the truth (akin to saying “I swear to god that…”).

In Poland the versions of this charm is “odpukać w niemalowane” [knocking on unpainted (wood)], as the name of the charm suggests the charm only works if one knocks on unpainted wood.

In Portugal, the version, which has a similar meaning to the others all around the world, is called “bater na madeira”, and when someone does this, “lagarto, lagarto, lagarto” (lizard) is uttered.

In Romania, the phrase “a bate în lemn” is often used and has the same meaning.

In Russia, the phrase “постучи по деревянному” is often used and has the same meaning.

In Serbian, the phrase “da kucnem u drvo” (“да куцнем у дрво”) is often used and has the same meaning.

In Sri Lanka, the phrase “touch wood” is rarely used within English speaking community. In Sri Lankan English, the phrase “touch gold” is more frequently used to mean the same.

In Switzerland the Swiss German version is “Holz alange” (touch wood) – but while saying it, knocking on or tapping wood is still required. A simple touch is not enough.

In Sweden, the phrase “ta i trä” (touch wood) is commonly used as a part of the phrase “peppar peppar, ta i trä” (pepper pepper, touch wood), the double “pepper” also being used to ward off a temptation of fate. It’s often shortened to just saying “peppar peppar” while knocking on wood.

In Spain, it’s said “Tocar madera”, and the meaning is the same, a charm to bring good luck. In Catalonia, and in other Catalan-speaking areas, such as the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, the expression used is “tocar ferro” (literally, touch iron), but it has the same meaning.

In {(Trinidad and Tobago])it has the same meaning

In Turkey “tahtaya vur” (knock on wood) is used. Usually, someone else will answer: “Şeytan kulağına kurşun” (May somebody melt some lead into Satan’s ear).

In Ukraine, the phrase “постукай по чомусь дерев’яному” is often used and has the same meaning.

In the United Kingdom and Australia the term “touch wood” is used; whereas the USA term “knock on wood” is best known.

In Hong Kong, an ex-colony of the United Kingdom, the term “touch wood” has been used in everyday conversation, mixing with Cantonese.

In India it’s said as “Nazar Na Lage”(let there be no evil eye), in Hindi and the meaning is similar; It is used, when something seems too good. It’s like saying ‘touch wood’; it’s said as “Kannu pada Pooguthu”(let there be no evil eye), in Tamil

In Pakistan it’s said as “Nazar Na Lage” or “Nazr-e-bad door”(let there be no evil eye), in Urdu and the meaning is similar; It is used, when something seems too good. It’s like saying ‘touch wood’.

Some tradition has it that knocking up on wood would awaken and release the (benevolent) wood faeries that dwelt there. This is probably based on Germanic forest-dwelling mythology. (from wikipedia)

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Filed under Could it be art?, Could it be nothing at all?, Could it be science?, Could it be tradition?

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